This weekend, KAABOO brought an eclectic lineup of musicians and comedians, art installations and all-out party vibes to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Since its inception, the event’s mission has been to “shift the festival paradigm,” and, in a way, they’ve been able to do that. For starters, where else could you catch Snoop Dogg and Dave Matthews Band on the same lineup?
One of the most lively performers on Friday afternoon was Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. The band’s frontman, Steven Van Zandt, is best known for his work with Bruce Springsteen and for playing the role of Silvio Dante on HBO’s The Sopranos, but he’s also enjoyed a pretty successful solo career over the years.
His band currently consists of at least a dozen performers, including a full horn section, a kickass percussionist and three backup vocalists. The psychedelic, floral-print clad band delivered nearly a full hour of high energy rock ’n’ roll, with hints of soul and Latin rhythms. Other standout performers throughout the day included legendary rock band The Cult and ’90s R&B icons Boyz II Men. Both acts sounded just like they did during their glory days.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds proved to be an awesome venue for such an event. There was an indoor section full of artists showcasing their work and a large outdoor communal area for attendees to enjoy craft beverages and food. Thanks to the fairgrounds’ expansive blacktop, the festival was able to fulfill their promise of a “dirt-free” experience.
Where KAABOO is not so progressive is in their focus on VIP guests. At least half of the standing room in front of each main stage was covered in artificial turf and fenced off as a VIP section. For instance, at the Grandview Stage, the entire stage right section spanning all the way back to the sound booth was fenced off. This meant that general admission attendees were forced to squeeze together on one side of the stage if they wanted to get anywhere close to the action. If your favorite band member was standing on the opposite side of the stage–oh well. The striking contrast between asphalt and fake grass made for a visible distinction between the Haves and the Have-Nots.
There were multiple other VIP sections spread out throughout the fairgrounds, and there seemed to be a few different levels of the VIP experience. The whole thing was extremely confusing to GA guests, but as we’ve seen with other festivals such as the Doheny Blues Fest, it’s most likely the real money maker (not to mention that beers averaged $14 a pop this weekend).
Regardless, most attendees seemed to be enjoying themselves and living it up in the summer party atmosphere. Wu Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg closed out the night, although they didn’t perform together as the event’s lineup ever so strangely suggested. Classic ’90s rap songs like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Gin and Juice” got the crowd bobbing their heads and tapping their feet until the event closed down. Guests filtered out looking forward to another day of wide-ranging music and fun in the sun.